Post · Videogames

Dimension Drive!

Let’s keep catching up with my latest projects now that we have some momentum, shall we?

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A very cool game I’ve been working on lately is Dimension Drive, a 2D shoot’em up by the Dutch studio 2Awesome Team.

The first time I heard about DD, it brought to mind the old school penny arcade games I’d play as a kid when my dad would give me some change, but actually it’s anything but old-fashioned. The titular drive is an advanced sort of engine that lets the player warp between two dimensions, expressed as a dual screen that keeps scrolling constantly, no matter in which one of the dimensions you’re fighting your way through. This deceptively simple mechanic leads to a lot of split-second tactics and snap decisions on when and where to warp, and which one of the half-screens you’re better off right now –  and perhaps dead the next second.

Which is perhaps a fitting feature for a game that almost wasn’t. There surely is a parallel dimension where Dimension Drive never actually got made.

The fact that it exists, in our universe at least, is down to the resilience of its developers and the faith of its backers. Dimension Drive had a very rocky start on Kickstarter, with some nasty sabotage by Internet trolls, a sad event widely covered by the press. But thanks to the amazingly positive reaction, the project was finally funded and 2Awesome Team could soon leave all that drama behind and concentrate on making the great game it is.

Dimension Drive character cast

And it was a joy to write. As a freelance narrative designer/writer, sometimes I get to exhaustively design the nuts and bolts of a complex story from its very inception, and some other times I have the chance to sit back and indulge in just writing deliciously a propos dialog. With Dimension Drive I got to let my hair down and write some classic, honest-to-God space opera, with unapologetically heroic heroes and evil evildoers, all characters being gloriously larger than life, nay, larger than the galaxy. So good that it even felt like a bit of a guilty pleasure. But gosh, did I love every second of it.

Jackelyne Tywood is our heroine, a woman hellbent on revenge, with friendly AI and best buddy V.E.R.A. in tow, trying to hammer some sense into her friend’s all too human brains. Their banter has been real fun to write. They seriously have potential to star in a comicbook of their own (so what about that, eh guys? 😉 ), and I had to constantly remind myself to stay under the character limits. The closer example that comes to mind is a more articulate, all-female C3-PO/R2-D2 comedic routine. Together they’ll shoot their way out of many a bullet hell all around the galaxy, following or being followed by the Ashajul Empire, whose Machivellian leader is after a dark and ancient secret. We get to see the characters in beautiful comic-like scenes in-between levels, and the rest of the time we let The Manticore, our mighty spaceship, do the talking with its laser cannons.

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Dimension Drive is on Steam Early Access now and will be available for the Nintendo Switch.

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